Markets

Monthly power output from renewables in the United States exceeded coal-fired generation for the first time in April, due to record wind power output and low demand amid moderate temperatures. According to EIA figures, wind and solar power sources provided 23% of total electricity generation, compared to 20% from thermal coal.

Sweden’s state-owned utility Vattenfall has issued a 500 million Euro green bond at Nasdaq, its first such issuance under a new Swedish law. The proceeds are dedicated for projects related to energy efficiency, electrification of transport, heat and industrial projects.

Electrification of the transport sector can help curb emissions substantially, Wood Mackenzie finds. A typical mid-size electric vehicle (EV) generates up to 67% fewer emissions than a gasoline internal combustion engine (ICE) car. But the crucial factor is the location where they are driven and the regional power generation mix.

California-based Sempra Energy is striving to take a leadership role in modernizing North America’s natural gas infrastructure to help incentivize power plant operators to switch from coal to gas. On a global scale, Sempra said its US LNG export terminal will supply affordable clean energy to Asia.

This year, for the first time since the Industrial Revolution, more of Britain’s electricity production will come from zero carbon energy sources, than fossil fuels. The landmark tipping point will be reached after National Grid invested £1.3 billion over the past decade in the clean energy transition, as well as £2 billion in new interconnectors such as the 1,400 MW North Sea Link to Norway.

Australian-owned liquefied natural gas trading platform GLX is now allowing European gas buyers and sellers to access its digital bid-offer system for global spot LNG cargo dealings. U.S. and Russian cargoes are increasingly traded at UK National Balancing Point (NBP) and Dutch Title Transfer Facility (TTF).

Malaysia offers some of the most material and attractive upstream investment opportunities in Southeast Asia, as the country needs additional gas supply for power generation. Time is of the essence, hence WoodMackenzie expects Petronas to ramp up its exploration efforts in deepwater Sarawak to prove up easier-to-develop resources.

The German government has been urged to keep the coal exit roadmap as flexible as possible. Andreas Kuhlmann, head of the German Energy Agency (dena) said rather than rigidly implementing the Coal Commissions’ proposals, there needed to be some leeway for key sectors – notably transport, buildings and industry.

German engineering giant Siemens has announced plans to cut 2,700 jobs at its Power & Gas (PG) unit that will be carved out and listed in a sweeping overhaul. Siemens said the measures were “necessary” to adjust capacities to reflect developments of the ailing global market for large gas turbines.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has entered a partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to mobilize $7 billion worth of investment for energy projects in Asia and the Pacific. The explicit aim is to boost the capacity of clean energy systems by 6 Gigawatts (GW), and increase regional energy trade by 10% over the next five years.

French oil and gas giant Total and Germany’s Siemens have proposed to scale back the size of the 1,230 MW integrated Kanbauk LNG-to-Power project after unresolved talks with the Government of Myanmar over financial terms. Downsizing is hoped to save the project which is at risk to be suspended, or outright cancelled.

General Electric (GE) could potentially win a substantial share of multi-billion dollar contracts to rebuild Iraq’s electricity system, after the U.S. government intervened on behalf of the company. In April, the Iraqi Prime Minister had said Siemens was “well-placed to win the bulk of future deals.”

Japan’s power generation mix is changing, as the world’s largest LNG importer prefers cheaper thermal coal over regasified natural gas. By 2030, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) projects coal will have a 26% share of Japan’s energy mix, just behind natural gas with 27%. Nuclear is seen account for 20% to 22% and renewables will cater for about a quarter of overall electricity supply.

Edesur, one of Argentina’s leading TSOs, has been struggling to restore electricity after a “massive failure” left nearly 50 million inhabitants in mainland Argentina and Uruguay in the dark since early Sunday. The blackout was described by Edesur as “totally unpredicted” and its exact cause is still unclear.

Aggreko, a UK-based provider of mobile power solutions, has agreed to support Wärtsilä with the launch of its new Modular Block solution. This pre-fabricated, modular enclosure – based on medium-speed W32 and 34 engines – is mobile and can be re-deployed at various sites which enables operators new financing models, such as power as a service or rentals.

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News in Brief

Slow start of STT pipeline

Oct 18 – U.S. gas exports to Mexico have not picked up substantially despite the start of the Sur de Texas-Tuxpan (STT) pipeline. Exports are still below 6.0 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d), although there no current postings regarding maintenance on the Sistrangas pipeline that feeds from NET Mexico.

EIB defers ban on fossil projects

Oct 17 – Luxembourg-based European Investment Bank (EIB) has bowed to pressure from Germany and the European Commission and deferred its decision to ban loans to fossil-fuel projects until mid-November. Germany wants the bank to keep financing gas-fired power projects as it views the cleaner-burning fossil fuel as a vital backup for renewable energy sources.

Brexit will not impact UK gas supply

Oct 16 – Security of power and gas supply in the UK will not be jeopardized this winter by the country’s imminent departure from the European Union, even in the event of a hard Brexit, National Grid said. In its assessment, the TSO factored in a halt to flows via the Belgium and Dutch gas interconnectors “from EU exit day one”, but said ongoing deliveries from Norway, the UK Continental Shelf and storage will continue as usual.

Ferrybridge C gets demolished

Oct 15 – Four cooling towers at the Ferrybridge Power Station have been taken down as the coal-fired power station will make way to a new, high-efficiency gas power station. Operator SSE shut down the 500 MW Ferrybridge C unit in March 2016 and now started to tear it down.

Global energy storage tops 10 GW by 2025

Oct 14 – The global market for grid-connected energy storage will grow by 6,900 MW, or 16.6% to reach over 10,500 MW by the end of 2025, according to Reportlinker.com. Germany will add over 267 MW energy storage installations over the next five to six years, while 330 MW will come from other European markets. These numbers are dwarfed by China, where up to 1,200 MW energy storage units could be connected to the grid by 2025.

Wärtsilä services EDL plant

Oct 11 – Energy Developments Ltd (EDL) of Australia has awarded Wärtsilä a service contract for gas engine-based baseload power plant at the McArthur River zinc mine in Northern Territory. The maintenance approach for the 53 MW onsite power plant is no longer pre-planned and scheduled but has been changed to condition-based and predictive maintenance, with an advisory contract.

EPH buys CCGT in Galway

Oct 10 – The Czech energy company EPH has received regulatory approval to purchase an 80% stake in the 400 MW Tynagh Energy combined-cycle gas power plant in Galway, Ireland. Mountainside Partners will continue to own the remaining stake in the CCGT, which operates based on a security-of-supply contract from the Irish TSO based on guaranteed power prices.

ITM gets £38m boost from Linde

Oct 9 – Sheffield-based ITM Power, maker of electrolysers for hydrogen production, has been boosted by a £38 million cash injection, as Linde acquired a 20% stake in ITM at 40 pence per share. Looking ahead, ITM said it is seeking to raise £14 million from new and existing institutional investors.

Drax to convert two power units

Oct 8 – Drax Group has received government approval to convert up to two coal-fired generating units at its power station in North Yorkshire to run on natural gas. With this ruling, the UK regulator overturned objections by ClientEarth, stressing some fossil power is vital for the UK to backup intermittent renewable power source.

Storage use tops 80% in key U.S. regions

Oct 7 – Gas storage utilization in the United States is rising in the autumn, with net injections topping 112 billion cubic feet (Bcf) in the first week of October. According to EIA figures, underground storages are at least 80% full in the East, Midwest, and South Central non-salt regions, allowing for seasonal withdrawals to help meet peak-day gas demand throughout the upcoming winter.

Maine, NY aspire to 100% clean energy

Oct 4 – Three U.S. states—Maine, New York, and Ohio—have updated their renewable portfolio standards (RPS), since May 2019. As a result, Maine and New York joined California, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, and the District of Columbia in requiring 100% clean electricity by 2050.

TransAlta to built CHP in Alberta

Oct 3 – Canada-based Transalta and SemCAMS Midstream have agreed to develop, construct and operate a new cogeneration facility at the Kaybob South No. 3 sour gas processing plant in Alberta. To be built at a cost of some 105 million, the CHP will have an installed capacity of 40 MW. Start of commercial operation is targeted for late 2021.

GE’s 100th HA turbine sold in Greece

Oct 2 – Greek industrial firm Mytilineos has ordered a GE 9HA.02 gas turbine to be the heart of the 826 MW Agios Nikolaos combined-cycle gas power plant. This deal also marks the 100th unit of GE’s HA gas turbine sold. Construction of the CCGT is due to start before the end of the year.

ABB launches M4M analyzer

Oct 1 – Swiss technology firm ABB has launches its first Bluetooth-equipped network analyzers, called M4M. The system gathers data from distribution grids and connects them to a cloud-based control system, allowing users to react on energy consumption and on-site power generation trends.

Microsoft invests in wind power

Sept 30 – Microsoft and ENGIE have entered a long-term solar and wind energy power purchase agreement (PPA) in the United States. The deal will see Microsoft purchase a total of 230 MW from two ENGIE projects in Texas, bringing Microsoft’s renewable energy portfolio to more than 1,900 MW.

Gazprom tackles issue of ownerless gas grid

Sept 27 – Gazprom, the main supplier of pipeline gas to Europe, is trying to settle the issue of ownerless gas pipelines – a relic of the former Soviet Union. Abandoned gas transmission pipeline spanned 6,651 kilometers as of March 1, with the issue seen as “especially acute” in the North Caucasus region where half of this infrastructure is located. If no owner registers these facilities within three months, Gazprom will take over to ensure reliability and safety.

Investors flock to Myanmar

Sept 26 – Fitch Ratings has singled out Myanmar’s power sector as one of the largest beneficiaries of foreign direct investments (FDI) worldwide. Nearly $21.2 billion was poured into power generation and energy infrastructure projects thus far in 2019, which is 27% of total FDI under the Myanmar Investment Law.